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After 43 years, Reidy’s Market changes hands to new owner

Posted on 28 May 2018 by calvin

Cherie and Terry Reidy turned over their grocery store keys to a new owner on May 15, after doing business in Longfellow for 43 years. The Highland Park residents have owned Reidy’s Market since 1975.

The couple was just starting out when they bought the corner grocery at 3904 E. 42nd Ave. all those years ago. It was their second business venture; the first was a gas station convenience store that they co-owned briefly on the east side of St. Paul.

“This corner market had once been a full-service grocery store,” Terry said. “The original wooden walk-in freezer, dairy case, and produce case were still in the basement. The previous owner operated a meat counter for his customers and, when we got here, there were two other butcher shops still doing business in the neighborhood.”

Photo right: Terry and Cherie Reidy co-owned Reidy’s Market for more than four decades. Terry said, “The reason we were here for this long is because this is a great neighborhood, full of hard-working folks who have been a pleasure to know and an honor to serve.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The story of Reidy’s Market parallels the story of every neighborhood grocery store amidst changing times. Before the early-1970’s, people did most of their grocery shopping in these small stores. Supermarkets hadn’t caught on, car travel was more of a luxury, and the majority of women weren’t working outside the home yet.

At 4,500 square feet, Reidy’s Market was twice the size of most convenience stores. “We called ourselves a superette,” Cherie said, “which was a word from the 70’s that you don’t hear anymore. Over the years, we’ve continued to do things in a way that might be considered ‘old-fashioned.’ For instance, right up until we sold—we delivered weekly groceries to a home-bound woman in the neighborhood. She’s someone we’ve known for more than a decade, and she’s blind. When she needed something that we didn’t stock, Terry would pick it up for her when he was out and about. Our general attitude has always been to try and be helpful.”

The Reidys contributed to the community in many other ways. Every year for the last 15 years, they gave grocery bags to Howe and Hiawatha School students to decorate for Earth Day. By the time the actual Earth Day rolled around, those bags were brought back to the store by a parent volunteer and used for bagging customers’ groceries.

During the December holiday season, Cherie put out a barrel in the store and made a tradition of collecting Toys for Tots. “The last couple of years,” Terry said, “we received 60-70 donations for kids.”

He continued, “We figured out that if we hired the local Boy Scout troop to deliver our sales flyers for $100/month, that was $1,200 that they could use for their camping trips every year.

Part of what makes it possible to stay in business for 43 years is having dependable help. Cherie said, “Clare Ludden was our store manager for 41 years. We couldn’t have done it without her. Both Terry and I have eight brothers and sisters, and many of them have worked here at one time or another. Only one of my siblings passed up the opportunity. Reidy’s Market has really been family-owned and operated.”

So what now? “We’re not 30 anymore,” Terry said. “That’s why we finally sold the store. Cherie is planning to retire, but me? I’d like to get a part-time job somewhere. I do have a little bit of experience in the grocery business, after all.”

Cherie said, “We had lots of people come in and say, ‘We’re sorry to see you go,’ or ‘We’ve rescinded your purchase agreement.’” To thank their loyal customers, Reidy’s Market held a Customer Appreciation Day on May 12. Three days later, the name of the market was slightly changed to Reidy’s Food Store.

The store continues to operate under new ownership.


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